Reduced meal frequency alleviates high-fat diet-induced lipid accumulation and inflammation in adipose tissue of pigs under the circumstance of fixed feed allowance



The present study was conducted to determine whether reduced meal frequency (MF) could restore high-fat diet (HFD)-modified phenotypes and microbiota under the condition of fixed feed allowance.


A total of 32 barrows with initial weight of 61.6 ± 0.8 kg were assigned to two diets [control diet (CON) versus HFD] and two meal frequencies [12 equal meals/day (M12) versus 2 equal meals/day (M2)], the trial lasted 8 weeks. The lipid metabolism and inflammatory response in adipose tissue as well as the profiles of intestinal microbiota and bacterial-derived metabolites were determined.


M2 versus M12 feeding regimen decreased perirenal fat weight and serum triglyceride and liposaccharide (LPS) concentrations in HFD-fed pigs (P < 0.05). Reduced MF down-regulated mRNA expression of lipoprotein lipase, CD36 molecule, interleukin 1 beta, tumor necrosis factor alpha, toll-like receptor 4, myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MYD88), and nuclear factor kappa beta 1 as well as protein expression of MYD88 in perirenal fat of HFD-fed pigs (P < 0.05). M2 feeding regimen increased abundance of Prevotella and decreased abundance of Bacteroides in colonic content of HFD-fed pigs (P < 0.05). No difference in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) profile in colonic content was observed among four groups (P > 0.05).


Our results suggested that M2 versus M12 feeding regimen ameliorated HFD-induced fat deposition and inflammatory response by decreasing fatty acid uptake and deactivating LPS/TLR4 signaling pathway in adipose tissue and restoring microbiota composition in distal intestine, without affecting SCFAs profile in distal luminal content.

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This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31802069) and Sichuan Science and Technology Program (2018JY0225).

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Correspondence to Jingbo Liu.

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Fig. S1

Effects of diet type and meal frequency on mRNA abundances of short-chain fatty acids receptors in perirenal fat of finishing pigs. (a) FFAR2, free fatty acid receptor 2, also known as GPR43; (b) FFAR3, free fatty acid receptor 3, also known as GPR41. CON, control diet; HF, high-fat diet; M12, pigs receiving 12 equal meals per day; M2, pigs receiving 2 equal meals per day, MF, meal frequency, NS, no significant difference. Means with different lowercase letters represent significant differences between groups (PDF 494 KB)

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Yan, H., Cao, S., Li, Y. et al. Reduced meal frequency alleviates high-fat diet-induced lipid accumulation and inflammation in adipose tissue of pigs under the circumstance of fixed feed allowance. Eur J Nutr 59, 595–608 (2020).

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  • Meal frequency
  • High-fat diet
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Inflammation
  • Microbiota
  • Short-chain fatty acids